Saturday, November 2, 2013

Wlodzimierz Nahorny – Jej Portret (2013) ***1/2

Wlodzimierz Nahorny - piano, saxophone, flute

GAD 006

By Adam Baruch

This is a reissue of an album recorded by the saxophonist / flautist / pianist / composer Wlodzimierz Nahorny, one of the Godfathers of modern Polish Jazz, who is still active on the local scene. This particular album presents the lyrical side of Nahorny, which is quite different from his Jazz activities, but not really surprising considering his diversity and affinity to different music genres, as demonstrated for example by his association with the Blues-Rock group Breakout, which happened at the same period this album was recorded.

The concept behind this album was to present Nahorny as an instrumentalist playing piano, saxophone and flute and supported by a large orchestra conducted by another Polish Jazz legend: Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski. The material, which comprised of a selection of Polish Pop songs popular at the time, was carefully arranged by three arrangers: Wroblewski, Tomasz Stanko and Tomasz Ochalski, who also contributed one original composition each, as did Nahorny himself. The resulting material was a mixture or some excellent lyrical songs written by some of the best Polish songwriters at the time and some melodic Jazz compositions composed for the occasion. Although obviously a commercial enterprise, this album was still pretty serious music making, with sophisticated, elegant and clever arrangements, superb solos by Nahorny and excellent music, which sounds quite impressive forty and change years later.

This reissue adds six bonus tracks, all of which are radio recordings done by Nahorny between 1965 and 1970, which also reflect his involvement with the lighter side of Jazz, rather than the avant-garde Jazz he was mainly associated with at the time. All the music was beautifully remastered and the sound is really excellent.

Considering the fact that this album appears here on CD for the first time and is by itself a pretty extraordinary episode on the local scene, this album is an important piece of modern Polish Jazz history and should be considered as a part of every serious music collection of the genre. Of course it is also a great fun to listen to. Wholeheartedly recommended!

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